John 14: Whatever you ask


#1

I’ve recently been having a struggle with my faith. One of the points with which I struggle is the above scripture, and similar ones elsewhere.

“Whatever you ask in my name,” Jesus says, “I will do it.”

During my recent doubts, I realized I have never truly believed that scripture because I have seen countless prayers go unanswered, mine and those of loved ones.

The only commentaries I find on these difficult verses suggest the idea is we must not pray for selfish desires and that if we pray in line with God’s will, our prayers will be answered. In other words, even though Jesus did not provide such detail, we should not pray for a million dollars and add “in Jesus’ name” and wonder why we don’t win the lottery. Fair enough.

But what about all the humble, honest, loving prayers that go unanswered?

-God, please heal my illness.
-God, please heal my mother.
-God, please heal my child.
-God, please save my sick kitten.

People pray for food and shelter. They pray for protection from hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. And every day, people starve, freeze to death and are lost in natural disasters.

In ministry, I see people with all kinds of terrible sufferings. I pray for all of them. I just don’t see what difference it makes.

Can you see how verses like this are used by atheists or anti-Christians, to cast doubt on our religion?

Any help appreciated.

Peace.


#2

Scripture is true, never say you don’t believe it, say you don’t understand. Its authority stands on the Resurrection of the Lord! He is Master of the Heavens and the Earth!

We need to ask more questions about this verse… Who is the “you” being referred to? If it somehow extends universally, what qualifications might be levied on it by the context in which the verse appears? What does it mean in general to ask God for something, according to the Gospel of John? What natural reflections of this supernatural reality are there? Etc.


#3

I think you should realise sometimes the answer is “no”


#4

Like the others stated, the ‘catch’ is, whatever your asking for, has to be agreeable in Gods opinion too, although Im still not sure why my prayers over the years to hit the lottery have not been answered…I know for a fact, that WOULD definitely help alot of people and organizations!!


#5

You have to understand where God is coming from… he is all knowing and all loving. Sometimes when we ask for things it isn’t good for us, even though it seems to us it would be the best thing in the world…that’s the point…God isn’t thinking about just this world but your life in the world to come–eternity! He knows what you need before you even ask… and he works all things for YOUR goodness.

I am not God and can’t explain it all but in my little mind it works something like this:
We are driving to town and I ask God to be with us on our trip to help keep us safe, we have a car wreck and hubby breaks six bones and winds up in the hospital. Where was God, did he not answer my prayer? Hubby is not religious-AT ALL- but in the hospital he meets a very nice doctor who gives him super care and talks to him about his own belief in God. Hubby softens his anti God stance and becomes more open to communication about God. He begins to listen and search for God. God was with us in our accident. Hubby didn’t die without forgiveness, but lives to seek forgiveness for past sins. God is leading him to eternal life with HIM…

I still ask God for things. But I keep an open mind about how He answers my prayers. I don’t know everything but he knows just what I need for my forward progress to get to heaven and that’s where I want to be…that’s where HE wants me to be, too!

Praying for you!


#6

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Excellent post. Couldn’t have said it better.


#7

Here is WHY "prayers can go answered"

Some of the reasons can include:

  1. God has 3 choices in answering prayers:

YES
NO
NOT NOW

The determining factor is what GOD [All Knowing, Wise, and Loving] KNOWS to be for our Good; ESPECIALLY our Spiritual welfare,

  1. The condition of our Soul also has a role in God’s decision, so STAY in the “State of Grace” …

NO unconfessed, or unforgiven Moral sins:

1 John 1: 6-7
I John 5: 16-17
John 20:19-23

God will grant what he KNOWS to be best for us, WHEN it s Best for us and in the MANNER that is Best for us:thumbsup:

  1. SUFFERING [and this by far is the most difficult for US to comprehend. which is precisely WHY Jesus Himself IS our role model.

Since the Fall of Adam [Original sin]; suffering has been and shall continue to be the “normal condition” of humanity:

Take Up your Cross and Follow Me

Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 ***Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” *** [THIS MEANS] is VERY unlikely to attain heaven:o

  1. The REAL issue is WHO’S IN CHARGE?"

God in His brillaince, give to us ONLY 2 options

A> We PERMIT God to run our lives

B> We opt to assume at GREAT risk, this responsibility for ourselves:eek:

AND the responsibility cannot be split or shared…

These guides ought to frame our expectations. :slight_smile:

God Bless you, PRAY much

Patrick


#8

Hmm, in other words, “you can’t always get what you want, but you can get what you need?” (sorry Mick Jagger) :wink:

Just kidding. This is another great explanation. :thumbsup:


#9

Thank you for all the kind replies.

However, these are pretty much what I’ve seen before. So, what if someone in a state of grace, who does nothing but seek God’s will in all things and happily accepts his suffering without bitterness, asks for something in Jesus’ name? Then what?

Scripture says, it is God’s will that all be saved and come to the truth. Also, in scripture, we see that when Jesus was told someone may be healed “if he willed it,” he responded, “I do- be healed.”

So, what if we pray for someone’s salvation or for healing?

I’m not trying to be difficult but I guess there just isn’t a solid answer to this one.

Jesus didn’t say, “If you pray in my name and hire a good lawyer to write up a contract and explain all the complicated clauses and exceptions…”

Forgive me, I’m struggling with my faith not trying to mock or insult anyone with stronger faith than my own.


#10

Jesus was talking to the leadership of his Church, not individual Christians.

Whatever the Church asks in Jesus’ name it will be granted.

The entire discourse, from John 13 through John 17 was spoken to “The twelve” at the Last Supper. They were addressed to the Apostles, the new Bishops of his new Church.

-Tim-


#11

Now we are starting to get to the central issues of exegesis.


#12

OK. I will assume this is the proper interpretation. It makes sense. That’s how we apply John 20, Mark 16 and other scriptures dealing with supernatural authority or power. Can we answer my question if I rephrase it?

If the Catholic Church leadership asks anything in Jesus’ name, it will be done.

Has the Church ever prayed for healing, unity among believers, an end to hunger and war or solutions to great social or political strife? Obviously, it has and continues to do so.

Why aren’t all of those prayers answered?


#13

I ask myself that question, Im positive MANY MANY people have been praying for an end to abortion (among the other things you mentioned too), but as of yet…nothing…???


#14

From my understanding, taking the verse in context…

Jesus is speaking to his disciples about his eventual ascension. He is basically comforting them and saying he will send the Holy Spirit to help them and will see them again in heaven one day. And he promises to answer their prayers asked in his name positively because it will glorify God and aid in establishing credibility for his church once he is gone. In Acts we see this coming to pass, with the disciples performing mighty works in Jesus’ name and bringing many into the Church.

We must be careful to read a verse in context and understand it’s true meaning…otherwise we can get discouraged when it seems Jesus didn’t do what he said he would do. I’m sorry you are struggling in your faith. I will pray for you.


#15

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Matthew 17:21-22)

There are also many other reasons why God appears to not answer prayers. Sometimes God knows what man needs more than we know. Sometimes God is working in hidden ways in the lives of individuals through the evils in the world - using war and poverty to bring people closer to him.

Sometimes the answer is just no. I prayed for a Corvette once. God told me no.

-Tim-

-Tim-


#16

Not a sports car…

I prayed for a brother, suffering from cancer, God said no.

I prayed yesterday for a sick woman, who was crying and saying “God help me” through her sobs, God said no.

I prayed that ISIS leaders would be converted and stop the bloodshed, God said no.

I prayed for clarity and knowing his will, when all human guidance was contradictory and confusing, God said no.

I’m sorry. Thanks for all the kind and logical responses. I just see all the logical arguments as excuses for a weak claim of scripture.

We don’t make excuses for verses like “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…” because we can’t see the results of that claim and worry that it isn’t reliable.

I am praying for wisdom and understanding. I haven’t given up, just struggling.


#17

Why not? In reality, if such things are not that important in the big scheme of things, why would it matter if you asked God for such a thing and he gave it to you? I highly doubt it would be a huge task for God to make a certain brand of vehicle pop up in someones driveway one day.

Just because a person would like to drive around in a car like that for a short time, does not mean it would be a bad thing for them or anyone else, or God for that matter.

However, I often pray for the other similar things you mentioned too, but usually God tells me no, or refuses to answer, so it appears to me, that bible verse was not 100% accurate.

Whats the point of God telling us we can ask for anything and he will deliver, when it rarely if ever happens that way??


#18

I’m sorry to hear that. But remember that God’s ultimate concern is with souls, not just bodies. Perhaps he’s already made sure of that brother’s soul? (For example, to use another brutal situation: if a man dying from AIDS is moved to repent and renounce “the gay agenda” before dying, is that more valuable than if he is cured and continues to be a practicing homosexual?)

I prayed yesterday for a sick woman, who was crying and saying “God help me” through her sobs, God said no.

Is one day enough to gauge any potential effect here? Remember the parable of the persistent widow.

I prayed that ISIS leaders would be converted and stop the bloodshed, God said no.

That might take a combination of prayer and sustained effort (works) on our part, even possible military action. Thousands of people are praying for this.

I prayed for clarity and knowing his will, when all human guidance was contradictory and confusing, God said no.

This is a process. We are not “enlightened” in a moment; the growth of our interior life can take a lifetime.

I’m sorry. Thanks for all the kind and logical responses. I just see all the logical arguments as excuses for a weak claim of scripture.

Except for your first example (which is a gutripper, but frankly, most of us have been there in one way or the other :() I don’t think you’ve made a conclusive case. Remember that fortitude is a cardinal virtue, and that includes persistence in prayer. You cannot be sure that “God said no” by placing a time limit on His response.

We don’t make excuses for verses like “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…” because we can’t see the results of that claim and worry that it isn’t reliable.

I am praying for wisdom and understanding. I haven’t given up, just struggling.

That’s the spirit! Keep at it. :thumbsup:


#19

Actaually your RIGHT-ON:thumbsup::smiley:


#20

You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:2-3)

***“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. *(1 Corinthians 10:23-24)

-Tim-


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